Helping a friend suddenly, tragically uprooted

By Sabrina Squire - bio | email

NOTE: Every Tuesday at 5 p.m., we reveal a 12 On Your Side Act of Kindness where we give $300 to someone who wants to pay it forward to help someone or some group in need. The rules are: It can't be a relative and you have to pass it on within one hour.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When we meet at Robbie's North Richmond apartment, I was surprised to hear we'd already met -- years ago.

"Children's Hospital telethon!," he said.

Way back when, Robbie was among the kids who helped us raise lots of cash for Children's Miracle Network.  Today he wants to pay it forward to a neighbor he doesn't know that well.  He just knows that Daisy's been suddenly, tragically uprooted.

"She had a fire in her apartment and I know if something like that happened to me, I would need the help," Robbie said.

Robbie said that at Hollybrook Apartments neighbors look out for each other. Sometimes he says they're all they have.

"We're all disabled here, everybody's in chairs pretty much, when the aides are not around, we try to do what we can to help," he said.

Robbie was in his chair watching TV last week, when he heard the wail of sirens.

"I heard the fire trucks coming, I went out investigated," he said. "The window was already blown out, a lot of smoke, a lot of smoke, couldn't tell which apartment it was at first."

Robbie says Daisy's place is unlivable.

"A lot of rebuilding, all her personal belongings destroyed," Robbie said.

NBC12 gave him $300 to pass along to Daisy.

As we head out to see what's left of Daisy's apartment, I learn she's been staying at a motel. There're no vacancies here.  Hollybrook is one of just three complexes in the country built for people in wheelchairs.

There's always a waiting list. Daisy thinks she's here today to see what's salvageable.

I said, "you must be Daisy, I'm Sabrina Squire."

"I done seen you on TV, Robbie invited us. Robbie invited us," Daisy said.

I said,"he said people here look out for each other."

Daisy said, crying:"They do."

Robbie said "let me see your hand," and then he counted out $300 for Daisy.

Then Daisy tells me about returning from the adult center the day of the fire.

"I came by here and look in the apartment," she said. "I say Lord have mercy."

Daisy had been in her place for three years and she stayed on the waiting list two years.

"I done stayed in adult home, I done stayed in a motel and I had made up my mind I was gonna get my own place and this happen," she said.

She was told the fire was electrical, a problem with an extension cord.  The fire ravaged her  beloved home, furnishings, carpet, keepsakes in shambles, smoke damage throughout.  Daisy can hardly bear to look at the destruction.

She's been told it'll take up to three months to repair. But she's confident she'll recover. She says she's survived worse.

"I'm a be alright, I'm a be alright, Most definitely I'm a be alright," she said.

With a little help from her  friends and neighbors.

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